…NNPC claims action legal
The legality of the $12 billion withdrawn from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account is one million question that the House of Representatives seeks to answer.
NNPC Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday maintained that the action was legal.
House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts summoned the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to clarify claims by the NNPC on the utilization of the NLNG fund.
Ajiya who represented the Group Managing Director (GMD) NNPC, Mele Kyari said NNPC pulled out the sum from the dividends account, authorised by the Federal Government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the NNPC.
He said, “All withdrawals(from NLNG dividends fund), were based on approved mandates of the relevant authorities. As far as NNPC is concerned, investments in NLNG, were done on behalf of the Federal government. I was the treasurer of NLNG, so I was aware of the Federal government’s investment in the project.
“The same matter came at the FEC(Federal Executive Council), and was referred to a Committee, headed by the Governor of Kaduna State, but the fact is that, the Federal Government, through the NNPC, is the true owner of the investment(the sum withdrawn). It is accrued to the Federal government, not the Federation Account.
“There is no question of illegal withdrawal. Nobody can withdraw from the account, illegally; the CBN Governor, can be invited to attest to that”.
He further explained, “When I say Federal government, I do not mean, NNPC; ordinarily, it’s the Federal Ministry of Finance, that directs the utilization. We(NNPC), are merely, the agents of the Federal government”.
Speaking on queries from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) on alleged unauthorized deduction of over N1.2 trillion in 2014 from proceeds from oil by the NNPC, he said, they couldn’t have remitted all its earnings at once to the federation account.
It could be recalled that, the AuGF also queried the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The committee waved the the issue of non-remittances for the year in review.
Following the submissions, the Committee chairman, Wole Oke and members resolved to summon the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to clarify claims by the NNPC on the utilization of the NLNG fund.